Needham Ranch project developers to celebrate ‘major milestone’

The Center at Needham Ranch project is set to celebrate a significant milestone on Nov. 20. On the week of Nov. 18, vertical building of the project should be visible to passersby. Courtesy photo

After approval by the city 15 years ago, the Center at Needham Ranch project is set to celebrate a significant milestone on Tuesday, Nov. 20, according to developers.

Residents have seen renderings, videos and the beginning stages of construction of the state-of-the-art industrial space development, but come the week of Nov. 18, vertical building should be visible to passersby.

“The first panels are expected to go up on the 18th or 19th,” said John Balestra, the senior vice president for Trammell Crow Co., the developer. “Walls will be up by then just in time for the 20th, which is a major milestone for the whole team.”

Between Highway 14 and downtown Newhall, the Needham Ranch project is a master-planned 135-acre business park that will include up to 4.3 million square feet of industrial, office and research space over seven buildings.

Each building is designed to range between 34,000 to 210,000 square feet in size, with features like 30- to 36-foot interior clear heights with ESFR fire sprinklers, generous truck courts and yard areas and attractive architectural designs.

Leasing agent Craig Peters said Needham Ranch would offer “best-in-class” industrial facilities, “coveted by media and entertainment, manufacturing, warehousing and logistics/last mile distribution space users” in a natural park-like setting.

In 1889, the property was bought by prohibitionist Henry Clay Needham. His heirs later sold an estimated 770 acres in the late 1950s to Eternal Valley Cemetery director Mark Gates Sr., who then sold off the 220-acre cemetery area.

The remaining 584 acres was planned for development in the late 1990s by Gates’ son Mark Jr. as the Gate-King Industrial Park.

Fast forward to 2017, when water retailer Newhall County Water District met with the developer to get involved and lay pipes for one of the most significant commercial projects now under development in L.A. County.

Though much work is still underway, Balestra said the project would pick up the pace as soon as panels start going up.

“It’s been a very challenging land development, given the density amount of grading, utility and infrastructure work that we have had to do,” he said. “It was a raw, hillside property but we are over the hump with grading and completion of infrastructure. Now it’s building buildings — the part that goes by the fastest.”

Balestra said they had received a significant amount of interest from businesses looking into occupying the facilities, and he believes more will flood in as soon as vertical construction is well underway.

“Once walls come up, the front entrance is complete, and you can drive on the site, we will see a whole other level of interest,” he said.

On Nov. 20, an invite-only event aimed mostly for brokers, developers, city officials and local business experts will offer the latest on the project.

“We want to celebrate this major milestone in really being able to achieve the vision that has been floating around the community for over 20 years,” said Balestra. “Needham Ranch will offer a home for manufacturing and distribution. This is all part of Santa Clarita Valley’s growth, and we are excited to share that with everyone soon.”

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